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This easy minestrone soup recipe has a rich, flavorful tomato-y broth that is loaded with vegetables, Italian sausage, and beans. It’s hearty, healthy (so many veggies!), and comforting, and this traditional minestrone soup can be made on the stovetop or in the crockpot.
A big bowl of this easy minestrone soup is heaven on cold days, especially when you serve it up with some crusty french bread or these cheesy garlic mozzarella swirl rolls. And it’s even better than the popular Olive Garden version of minestrone soup.
I love making this soup with a savory beef broth base, but you could use chicken broth instead. Or use 4 cups of vegetable broth in place of the beef broth and two of the cups of the water and leave out the italian sausage if you want to make this a vegetarian minestrone soup recipe.
How to Make Minestrone Soup
First off, don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients in this recipe. Most of it is made up of pantry items like canned beans and tomatoes, along with basic spices. Yes, there is some chopping involved with the fresh veggies, but it’s not too bad.
And that long list of ingredients is offset by the ease of preparation, which just involves a few minutes of active cooking time where you brown the sausage with the onions and garlic in the same pot you plan to cook the soup in, unless you are opting to make this in the slow cooker, in which case you will need to dirty one extra pan for this step. But after that it’s just a matter of dumping everything in together and letting it simmer so the flavors can combine and create a really wonderful soup that’s so filling it’s almost closer to a stew.
A good kitchen trick to use in this soup, as well as many other soups, is to toss in a leftover parmesan rind if you have one. It adds wonderful flavor to the broth!
What’s in Minestrone Soup?
Traditional minestrone soup is pretty much alllllll about the vegetables. It is a great clean-out-the-fridge meal because you can use whatever leftover vegetables you have on hand. Forgotten carrots at the back of the crisper, an extra yellow squash that’s hanging out in the fridge, spinach from those giant tubs we all buy with the best intentions to use it all up but that we inevitably struggle to get through, a lonely potato from cold storage. It’s all good.
Just remember that softer vegetables like squash or spinach cook faster than crunchy ones like carrots, so they should be added later in the cooking process so they don’t turn to mush.
You definitely don’t need to include all the vegetables in this list, but here are some of my favorites for using in minestrone soup.
- yellow squash
- butternut squash
- green beans
This soup is just the thing to get you through these last few weeks of winter until Spring starts showing up for good! What are your other favorite meals to make on cold, wintry days?
More Comforting Soup Recipes
- Zuppa Toscana Crockpot or Stovetop Soup
- One Pot Lasagna Soup
- Cheesy Taco Soup
- Chicken Noodle & Dumpling Soup
- 1 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can white navy, cannellini, or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 small zucchini, quartered and chopped (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Parmesan rind
- 1 1/3 cups pasta (optional - ditalini, farfalle or shells)
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- In a large pot or dutch oven, brown the sausage with the onions and garlic over medium heat. Drain any grease that cooks off, if necessary.
- Add all remaining ingredients up through the Parmesan rind (if you have one on hand), and bring the soup to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low, then simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until all of the veggies are tender.
- Remove the bay leaves and anything that remains of the Parmesan rind and stir in the pasta, if using, during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking so that it can cook through until al dente.
- Serve with crusty bread and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top.
Other vegetables that are good in this soup are green beans, yellow squash, butternut squash, or spinach, added right toward the end of cooking time so they don't turn into mush.
To make this in the slow cooker, just brown the sausage first, then add everything except for the zucchini, beans, and pasta to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Stir in the beans, zucchini, and optional pasta for the last 20-25 minutes to heat through and pasta is tender.
Adapted from Our Best Bites.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 226Saturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 959mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 9g
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